books, ideas, insights: North Africa

Thinking about North Africa

Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian author of dozens of important and compulsively readable books and Nobel prize winner in 1988, is known for his masterwork, the three-volume Cairo Trilogy, completed in the 1950s; however, after a hiatus of several years, numerous books followed until his death in 2006. Bird & Beckett patrons are invited to email us at (using the subject line “books, ideas, insights”) with your assessment of any of his books and the insights they provide into modern Egyptian life, economics and politics.

We’d also like your feedback on the work of other writers, so that we can all broaden our view — fiction, history, economics, politics; it’s all important.

Egypt is of particular concern at the moment, but of no less concern are Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the many other countries in the region whose names were in the news yesterday or will be in the news tomorrow… and the Sudan (North and South), Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Mexico, Columbia… we at Bird & Beckett would like to get an ongoing conversation started… through the website, and also in the store proper. You can make that happen by participating.

While we believe that Americans should seek to foment positive change by focusing on the reactions and actions of their own government, business community and citizenry to the events abroad (i.e., the administration’s support of the standing authorities which are being challenged, corporate dealings as economic players in the region, media spin that distracts from understanding of the people and issues involved, etc.), we can’t resist the impulse to gain whatever insight we can into the cultures and people where change is happening– through books, music, film, non-corporate media, etc.

By the way, if you don’t live near the store, be sure you buy your books through a local mom-and-pop bookshop, wouldya? Or patronize the public library. Amazon’s a river in South America, not a substitute for community… and don’t let the physical book go the way of the dinosaur or you’ll live to regret it. End of commercial. Thanks!